GEICO Powersports Drag Racing Teams Take Steps Forward in Atlanta - 5/16/2010
Rob Geiger - Geiger Media

ATLANTA (May 16) -- Progress was more than a watchword on Sunday for the GEICO Powersports NHRA teams at the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals.

Both Morgan Lucas' Top Fuel and Karen Stoffer's Pro Stock Motorcycle teams have been struggling in the previous few races, but both won rounds and were competitive overall during Sunday's eliminations at Atlanta Dragway.

"The track was still moderate at best," Lucas said. "The fact that we ran numbers like the 3.89 or 3.90 even with a cylinder out, just goes to show we're a lot closer than people realize. If we can get to within .02 of everybody we'll have a great chance at the championship."

Lucas won his first round matchup against Dave Grubnic by running a solid 3.962 second lap at 299.26 mph, which was more than enough to send Grubnic, who had a 4.076 at 284.15 mph, packing.

In the second round, Lucas squared off against Doug Kalitta. Lucas' car shook a little downtrack and opened the door enough for Kalitta, who ended with a 3.895 second lap at 316.67 mph against Lucas' 4.006 at 295.40 mph.

"We're still looking at something for the bigger picture," Lucas said. "Our window has gotten a lot bigger. We've fixed one problem and developed another. We've just got to resolve it, that's all. We've got to go out and get these problems solved. I think we are getting a lot of data about both what to do and what not to do.

"Crew chief Jimmy Walsh has been spending time with the dynos back home. He just doesn't quit. When you have people like that working on your team you are going to have a lot of optimism about the future, and we do."

Stoffer has been struggling to make her GEICO Powersports Suzuki go straight the last four races. Here she qualified in the fifth spot and made quick work of Angie Smith in the first round, running a 7.011 at 196.72 mph as Smith broke at the line and coasted to a 32.018 second lap at 61.58 mph.

"We had a problem with the chassis, but we've got it straightened out," Stoffer said. "Now we're focusing on the tune-up. It's been a long hard road the last four races."

In the second round against Angie's husband Matt Smith, Stoffer was slow off the line and spun the rear tire. It was enough of a gap for Matt to win on a holeshot with his.048 second reaction time combined with a 7.114 at 185.64 mph just enough to beat Stoffer, who had a .128 reaction time with a 7.085 second run at 182.85 mph.

"The team has the bike going straight right now," Stoffer said. "We can now focus on tuning going into Chicago and it makes me very optimistic. Right now we're focusing on moving up in a points."

The GEICO Powersports Top Fuel dragster will next take the track May 21-23 at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Summer Nationals from Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. The GEICO Powersports Suzuki doesn't see action again until June 3-6 at the United Associated Route 66 Nationals outside Chicago.

Stoffer went on to extend special thanks to all of the 2010 sponsors and supporters.
Geico Powersports 1-800-442-9253, Speed Dawg, Bates Leathers, Suzuki Extended Protection, KYMCOUSA, NGK, Airtech, Red Line Oil, American Racing Products, Mechanix Wear Gloves, and TKO Graphics.